Friday, 24 August 2012

Essential Performances of the ‘90s Tournament: Round Two, Showdown 5

The Essential Performances of the ‘90s tournament continues with another male / male match-up. The previous polls are still open for your votes HERE and the entire bracket is HERE for your perusal.

If you love any of the upcoming performances enough, feel free to offer a defence of them on your own blogs and I’ll include a link to it (information HERE).

Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction (1994) as Jules Winnfield
All good performances have this quality, but it bears being repeated for Samuel here. His rendering of Jules Winnfield is so effective, specific and idiosyncratic that I am, on occasion, unable to believe that the role wasn't written with him in mind. Other films have utilised the zany coolness of Jackson after, but this was the first to do it so well. I pause just a bit at saying he's the MVP of the film, but the screen crackles when he appears in a way that justifies the legend of the character. Randomness: I'm not sure if it's Jackson's earnestness or the script's but truthfully it's as if that (erroneous) biblical recitation is true. It takes charm, charisma and general forcefulness to sell that and Jackson has it in spades. Random: Also, has eating a sandwich ever been as hilariously menacing?

Daniel Day Lewis in In the Name of the Father (1993) as Gerard Conlon
There are a number of reasons In the name of the Father works (really works) for me even as it navigates through so many familiar beats - wrongly accused, redress through the court, bonding jail. For one, Sheridan's is sharp and ecominical, the screenplay is without sentiment, and the performances are marvellous. 1993 was a banner year for Day Lewis, effective as the reticent lover in The Age of Innocence and just as effective albeit in a different register here. He's so good at working through Gerard's boyish disrespect for authority and then mapping it against his older wisdom (but with the selfsame tenacity). Random: There are so many key scenes for him and really he's on point throughout but that scene above always ALWAYS floors me.

Alex (Alex in Movieland) in defense of Daniel Day Lewis in In the Name of the Father



Anonymous said...

I love this post -- I'm thoroughly enjoying the video clips and your comments on each character. These are both amazing movies and characters. I can't decide who to vote for. It's just too close to call.

Brittani Burnham said...

I LOVE that scene in Pulp Fiction so much.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Definitely Samuel Jackson. Great idea for a tourney Andrew!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

stephanie so glad you're enjoying it. but VOTE. you've got two days to make up your mind :)

brittani that scene works so well. is it just the writing, is it just sam? it's just good either way.

maurice thanks for visiting, and glad you're enjoying it.